Mid-Afternoon Market Update: In Bernanke's Final FOMC Statement Fed Begins Taper

By Jake L'Ecuyer,

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Toward the end of trading Wednesday, the Dow traded up 1.55 percent to 16,123.82 while the NASDAQ gained 0.82 percent to 4,057.99. The S&P also rose, gaining 1.42 percent to 1,805.67.

Top Headline The long awaited FOMC statement was finally delivered today, with the Federal Reserve deciding to Taper quantitative easing to a pace of $75 billion a month, with monthly purchases dropping from $45 billion to $40 billion a month.

This comes on the heels of a strong jobs report and continued strength in the housing sector.

The news sent commodities like gold and silver into a series of radical whip-saws as liquidity plummeted, while the major indices dipped briefly before staging a large rally.

Equities Trading UP Valassis Communications (NYSE: VCI ) shot up 22.16 percent to $34.57 after the company agreed to be acquired by Harland Clarke Holdings Corp for $34.04 per share in cash.

Shares of Lennar (NYSE: LEN ) got a boost, shooting up 6.36 percent to $37.45 after the company reported a rise in its fiscal fourth-quarter profit.

Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN ) was also on the rise, gaining 6 percent to $11.31 throughout Wednesday's trading session after Northland Securities initiated the stock with an Outperform rating and a $13 price target, while the late day market rally added fuel to the fire.

Equities Trading DOWN Shares of Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL ) were down 20.46 percent to $15.69 after the company reported downbeat fiscal first-quarter results and issued a weak outlook for its second quarter. Citigroup downgraded the stock from Neutral to Sell and lowered the target price from $24 to $14.

VeriFone Systems (NYSE: PAY ) shares tumbled 7.36 percent to $23.16 after the company posted a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter and issued downbeat earnings forecast for the fiscal first quarter and full year.

Ford (NYSE: F ) was also falling on Wednesday's session, dropping 6.23 percent t $15.66 after the company announced that it sees its fiscal year 2014 automotive revenue roughly equivalent to 2013, while it expects a lower pre-tax profit.

Commodities In commodity news, oil traded up 0.69 percent to $98.14, while gold traded up 0.19 percent to $1,232.80.

Silver traded up 0.60 percent Wednesday to $20.03, while copper fell 0.08 percent to $3.32.

Eurozone European shares today. The Spanish Ibex Index gained 0.92 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index climbed 1.01 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX surged 1.05 percent and the French CAC 40 jumped 0.86 percent while U.K. shares gained 0.24 percent.

Economics US housing starts jumped 22.7% to an adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million in November. However, economists were projecting housing starts to reach a rate of 955,000.

The MBA reported that its index of mortgage application activity declined 5.50% in the week ended December 13, 2013.

Crude supplies dropped by 2.9 million barrels for the week ended December 13, the US Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts were expecting a fall of 4 million barrels.

The FOMC will announce its policy decision at 2:00 p.m. ET, while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold press briefing at 2:30 p.m. ET.

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities , Economy
Referenced Stocks: F , JBL , LEN , PAY , VCI

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